From men’s club hockey to Northeastern women’s team: “Zero to 60”

Dani Rylan celebrated the New Year by scoring her first goal for the Northeastern University women’s hockey team with three minutes remaining in a Jan. 2 game against St. Cloud State.

The tally broke a 1-1 tie.

“Oh my gosh, it was amazing,” says Rylan, a graduate student who played men’s club hockey in preparation for lacing up her stakes for the Huskies. “St. Cloud probably had 10 shots in the last few minutes, so I couldn’t fully enjoy the goal until the game was over and we had won.”

Rylan had ties to Husky hockey even before she put on the Northeastern sweater.

Head coach Dave Flint recruited her in high school when he coached St. Anselm College, in Manchester, N.H., but Rylan ended up playing for the men’s club team at Metro State College, in Denver, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. They kept in touch, and he guaranteed Rylan a roster spot on the Northeastern club if she applied to the university and got accepted.

Rylan, who’s studying sports leadership at Northeastern, has two years of college athletic eligibility remaining.

The budding sideline reporter, who covered the Colorado Rockies during an internship at Fox Sports Network-Rocky Mountain, has scored two goals and six assists in 28 games with the Huskies.

She plays a regular shift as a forward on the third line. “I didn’t even know if I would dress for games, but now I’m getting a ton of ice time,” says Rylan, who’s quickly adapted to the fast pace of elite college hockey. “I’ve gone from zero to 60 and 60 has been awesome.”

Facing off against the guys at Metro State College — “I felt like I got hit by a bus every game” — prepared the 5-foot, 3-inch Rylan for playing against some of the top goal-scorers and shot-blockers in the nation. Hockey East, the conference in which the Huskies compete, features three of the top 10 teams in the country.

“I never expected to be where I am now,” she says. “All the cards lined up perfectly.”

She’ll do her best to help the Huskies wintheir 15thBeanpot championship. The club, 14-9-5, has been ranked as high asNo. 9 in the countrythis season, and has a good shot to take home some more hardware.

“It’s an opportunity for bragging rights for a whole year,” says Rylan. “That sounds good to me.”